I’ve had a post about business cards in mind since before we started this site. One of the goals of Knock Twice is to educate about professional practice, so I think this is a basic but important topic to discuss. Having a business card immediately makes you more credible than the guy who scribbled his email on the back of an old receipt… having a card shows people that you take what you do seriously.
A business card is a very practical and portable way for you to provide someone with a way to find you. By placing a card in their hand, you are giving people something tangible that lasts long after the target has clicked on your link, or ‘liked’ you online. That piece of paper will show up in wallets, pockets, and on desktops for a while, and serve to remind people why they were interested in you in the first place. (“Oh yeah….Dan the web design guy! I’ve been meaning to email him….”)
Make the Investment.
You don’t have to be an official business to have cards made. Having a personal card is a valuable investment if you’re working in a field you think you’ll stick with. While in school, for example, you have opportunities to network with a variety of people; why not give then your card for later? A personal card should contain your name, contact information, and perhaps a (very) brief description of what you want them to know about you. For example, ‘Designer/Illustrator’, or ‘Bachelor of Fine Arts’.
Make a Good Impression.
In many cases, a business card is the first impression people will have of you as a professional or as a brand. Your card implies a lot about you.
– Make sure all of your information is clear (if people have to work too hard to contact you, they won’t.)
– Spell check. (That would be embarrassing.)
– Consider the design, and make sure it’s consistent with the visual message you want to send. (A graffiti-type font can be great, but maybe not if you’re a fine-art wedding photographer. Likewise, a formal script might not be the best choice for a muralist.)
– If you’re not a gifted designer, consider hiring someone who is. You may have a roommate, boyfriend, or classmate who will do a great job for a fair rate. Etsy can be awesome, and there are also a lot of templates available online. First impressions mean a lot, and people are suckers for good design.
Make it Happen.
Many printing/copy will offer business card printing. (Some may also offer design services). And, as always, there are a number of online resources available. Check out:
– The Printing House (http://www.tph.ca/)
– MOO (http://us.moo.com/)
– Click Business Cards (http://clickbusinesscards.com)
Once you have your cards, bring them with you. (They’re no good if they sit at home; they need to be out working for you!) Invest in a business card holder, or, at the very least, keep you wallet stocked. You should always have some on you.
Trade them. Swapping cards with someone is a great way to make new contacts, and a good way to be able to follow up with people.
Don’t be obnoxious about it, but if there’s a reasonable opportunity, give those things out as often as you can. You can always print more!